Creating Cap Room to Bring in One More Vet

Questions Answered: Clearing Cap for a Big Move, Only 5 WRs, Why on Watts?
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

I’ve long been in favor of making a move for one or two more veterans. If the team wants to compete in 2022 – and their offseason decisions suggest they do – then they should really go for it. Continue to avoid long-term commitments while bringing in players who can help the upcoming season. The rumors surrounding Ndamukong Suh fits this idea. It has also prompted some consideration for how Minnesota could make the money work.

Quite often, a team looks to create cap room by approaching their vets about a restructured deal. This can involve converting part of the player’s salary into a signing bonus. The team can then spread out that money over the duration of a contract’s life ($6 million in 2022 can morph into $2 million in 2022, 2023, and 2024).

Over the Cap provides the ability to see how much the Vikings can create through restructures. I’ve considered Eric Kendricks, Brian O’Neill, and Dalvin Cook, veterans who have multiple years left on their deals (and who haven’t redone anything yet this offseason).

  • Kendricks – $4,065,000
  • O’Neill – $2,772,000
  • Cook – $5,523,750

The numbers are the maximum Minnesota could clear through restructures. Combined, the amount totals $12,360,750. Toss that onto the more than $10.9 million already available and the Vikings would have some money to work with. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could more than double his current cap room if he put together restructured deals that his players accepted.

Now, the Vikings won’t be pushing things to the max. Signing a new player might require a single restructure, but Minnesota is unlikely to go beyond that. Per OTC, Suh averaged more than $9 million on his deal with the Bucs. At this stage in the offseason and at this point in his career, Suh is unlikely to match that number. Something within the $4-6 million range seems likelier, especially if it’s just for a single season. Akiem Hicks – who replaced Suh in Tampa Bay – got a one-year deal worth $8 million, but OTC suggests TB used four void years to get his 2022 hit down.

If he wanted to, Adofo-Mensah could use void years to lessen the hit for Suh (or another veteran). In so doing, he’d be borrowing from future years to give the team the capacity to sign someone in the present moment.